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Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
Chamber
ATOS TRIO IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, November 04, 2018
When the ATOS Piano Trio planned their all-Russian touring program at their Berlin home base, it had a strong elegiac, even tragic theme that surely resonated with their Mill Valley Chamber Music Society audience Nov. 4 in Mill Valley. Comprised of Annette von Hehn, violin; Thomas Hoppe, piano; and...
Chamber
ATOS TRIO IN OCCIDENTAL CHAMBER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 03, 2018
When the Berlin-based ATOS Piano Trio entered the cramped Occidental Performing Arts stage Nov. 3, the audience of 100 anticipated familiar works in the announced all-Russian program. What they got was a selection of rarely-plays trios, with a gamut of emotions. Then one-movement Rachmaninoff G Mi...
Symphony
MIGHTY SHOSTAKOVICH 10TH OPENS MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Just two works were on the opening program of the Marin Symphony’s 67th season Oct. 28, Tchaikovsky’s iconic D Major Violin Concerto, and Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony. Before a full house in the Marin Center Auditorium conductor Alasdair Neale set a judicious opening tempo in the brief orchestra i...
Symphony
VIVALDI FOR ALL SEASONS IN WEILL BAROQUE CONCERT
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Saturday, October 27, 2018
The Venice Baroque Orchestra, a dozen superb musicians that include strings, harpsichord and recorder, played an uplifting concert Oct. 27 of mostly Vivaldi sinfonias and concertos. The Weill Hall audience of 600 had rapt attention throughout, and the playing was of the highest musical level. This r...
CHAMBER REVIEW
Dominican University of California Guest Concert Series / Sunday, February 11, 2018
Tilden Trio. June Choi Oh, piano; Sarn Oliver,violin; Peter Wyrick, cello

Tilden Trio Feb. 11 in Angelico Hall

NOVEL AND FAMILIAR WORKS FROM THE TILDEN TRIO

by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 11, 2018

North Coast chamber music fans have the luxury of two fine resident piano trios, with the frequently performing Trio Navarro at Sonoma State, and the Tilden Trio at San Rafael’s Dominican University. The Tilden plays less often, but their Feb. 11 performance brought several hundred to Angelico Hall to hear a sterling program.

A novelty opened the concert, Hummel’s E-Flat Major Trio, Op. 93, and it was probably a local premiere. There were flashes of his contemporary Beethoven in the expansive allegro, though taken at a slower than usual tempo. Pianist June Choi Oh played with smooth scales and prominence, and Peter Wyrick’s cello line sounded full. Violinist Sean Oliver had intonation problems in the initial thematic statements but quickly found his footing.

Hummel’s larghetto was played with careful emotion, and in the concluding finale the piano part was quite fast, with the left hand pedal point sporadically blurred (by design?). Much of the music had a fugal character and was a refreshing and convincing break from the more common period trios of Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven.

From the stage Ms. Oh made announcements and the trio moved to Jennifer Higdon’s Pale Yellow, an 8-minute part of a 2003 composition. As with most of this composer’s work Pale Yellow was easily approachable, and in this case atmospheric. The cello and violin have the big themes, the latter mostly in the high register. The Tilden played it as a long-line lament, sad but also soaring with soft marching chords from Ms. Oh. Each instrument seamlessly rose and receded into the sonic mix, and this saturated-with-color score finally resolved with the musical sun coming out. A splendid choice.

As a consummate orchestral cellist Mr. Wyrick seldom is in the soloist spotlight, but was in this concert partnering with Ms. Oh and playing Chopin’s effervescent Op. 3 Introduction et Polonaise Brillante. It was performed at a very slow tempo and with the cellist’s well-known dynamic control, but was not note perfect. The operatic ending (Donizetti? Bellini?) was elegant. He played without score.

Concluding the program was Schubert’s seminal first Trio (Op. 99) in B-Flat Major, and here was the best ensemble playing of the afternoon. In the opening allegro a lot is going on, and Mr. Wyrick’s projection of the big second theme was lovely. In the famous andante the Tilden choose a pokey tempo, as in the classic Cortot/Casals/Thibaud recording, but as in current interpretations they avoided the latter Trio’s uber-romantic ritards and phrasing. The violin and cello duet over a slow rocking piano line was beguiling. There was even a nod towards ländler-like phrases, playful and exquisite. The scherzo playing was trim, breezy and not overplayed.

Tight ensemble continued in the rondo finale, a long but satisfying collection of lovely themes and effects. Often listeners new to Schubert are perplexed, saying “not another repeat!” or “it’s so long,” but for the Tilden musicians it was a heavenly length. The continual contrasts and urgent piano dissonances were compelling, and the 1828 work finished with flair and loud audience applause.

No encore was offered. Pianist Kevin Kenner continues the Guest Artist Series April 8 in Angelico with an all-Chopin program.